Annie @ the Bowl!
- By Ken Werther
- Photos Courtesy of LA Philharmonic
Throughout the summer and into the early fall, the legendary18,000 seat Hollywood Bowl is the place to be! Having opened last month with superstar Diana Ross, the season is now in full swing, and the traditional July 4th Fireworks Spectacular (July 2-3-4) will star the Go-Go’s. Also coming up are Academy Award-winner Jennifer Hudson (July 6 & 7), a Leonard Bernstein Centennial Celebration conducted by Gustavo Dudamel (July 10), and the annual presentation of a Broadway musical (July 27-28-29). Begun in 2000, Broadway shows at the Bowl have included Carousel, Rent, Spamalot, Chicago, The Producers, The Sound of Music, Les Misérables, A Chorus Line, Hair, Mamma Mia! and many others. This year, it’s seven-time Tony Award-winning Annie!
Based on the 1924 comic strip Little Orphan Annie, the original Broadway production of Annie opened on April 21, 1977. Written by Charles Strouse, Martin Charnin, and Thomas Meehan, the show starred Dorothy Loudon, Reid Shelton, Robert Fitch, Sandy Faison, Laurie Beechman, and a 15-year-old Andrea McArdle. It won seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical, and ran for 2,377 performances through January, 1983. After McArdle, five young actresses played Annie during the run — Diana Barrows, Alyson Kirk, Shelley Bruce, Allison Smith, and … Sarah Jessica Parker! In 1982, a highly anticipated feature film version was released, directed by John Huston and starring Albert Finney, Carol Burnett, Tim Curry, Bernadette Peters, Ann Reinking, Edward Herrmann, Geoffrey Holder (creator of The Wiz), and Aileen Quinn as Annie. The movie received lukewarm reviews and was nominated for only two Oscars (Best Song Score and Best Production Design), but in 1999 a made-for-television film premiered on The Wonderful World of Disney. Directed by Rob Marshall, this version starred Kathy Bates, Alan Cumming, Audra McDonald, Kristin Chenoweth, Victor Garber, and Alicia Morton as the titular character. Even a grown-up Andrea McArdle made a brief appearance! The program was a smash during its initial airing — with an estimated 26 million viewers it became the second-most-watched Disney movie ever to air (behind Cinderella in 1997).
The LA Philharmonic has assembled a very exciting and diverse cast for the Hollywood Bowl production, including Ana Gasteyer (Saturday Night Live, Suburgatory, The Goldbergs, Wicked), David Alan Grier (In Living Color, Dreamgirls, Porgy and Bess), Megan Hilty (Smash, Wicked), Lea Salonga (Miss Saigon, Les Misérables, Alliegance), and Steven Weber (Wings, The Producers, Mamma Mia!). The production will be directed by two-time Tony Award nominee Michael Arden, whose acclaimed work as a director includes LA’s Deaf West Theatre Company production of Spring Awakening and Once on this Island (on Broadway), Merrily We Roll Along and The Pride (Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts), My Fair Lady (Bay Street Theater), For the Record: John Hughes (New York and LA), and Le Ronde (for his company The Forest of Arden). As an actor, Arden’s stage credits include Big River, Pippin, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Times They Are a Changin’, The Secret Garden, and Aspects of Love, among countless others. The choreographer for Annie is Eamon Foley and the production will be conducted by Todd Ellison. This extraordinary family evening is not to be missed!
Consider bringing food and having a picnic prior to the performance. For lots of folks, a picnic dinner and a show at the Hollywood Bowl is a family tradition. This year, Lyft becomes the Bowl’s official rideshare partner, marking the first of its kind for the venue. Among other great benefits, there will be a Lyft Lounge onsite providing comfortable seating and charging stations for passengers waiting for their rides. We really have arrived in the new millennium!
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